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My wildlife encounters over the years

Hey there,
since I don't want to spam this Forum with hundreds of new threads, I'd like to show some of my encounters in one threat that goes on and on.
I hope it's ok if I do so and I'm always looking to get honest reviews. 😅

I'd like to start with some shots I took up in New Hampshire, where one of my best friends has a house. Been there a few times and spend as much time as I could up in the white mountains.
When it comes to moose, I have to admit that I almost got killed while searching for them. I once walked through a swampy area near Pinkham Notch (Mt. Washington) when I stumbled in between a moose cow and her calf...
Well, mommy was very upset and about a sec. away from attacking when the calf luckily stood up and walked over to it's mother. Both of them have been so close by this time, I could have touched them. It was one of the most scary moments of my life but it turned into an awesome wildlife encounter. I was so afraid, I did not move or take a picture in this situation. Got one blurry shot a few moments later but it's not even worth showing. 😬
The very next day, I found Daddy-Moose and he was so calm, I took multiple shots with a 70mm lens.

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Gewöhnliche Strumpfbandnatter - Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).jpg

Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri)
Fowlers Kröte - Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri).jpg

Moose (Alces alces)
Elch - Moose (Alces alces).jpg

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Monarchfalter - Monarch (Danaus plexippus)2.jpg

Tree Fungus

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Superbly welcome Martin!

Fabulous collection!

The only suggestion I might very gently offer, is to attempt to group your rich trove by a topic!

But I guess you have done exactly as it’s about your diverse experience!

But right now, I am so happy to see your fine work and look forward to collections of amphibians, birds, butterflies ungulates, landscapes, skies and people!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

A fine fellow! I like the smooth bg

With golden eyes, warty skin, seems most like a toad! However, there are 19 species in the USA, so unless I knew the habitat and the state I am always at a loss to begin to identify it.

But you thankfully named it: a Fowler’s Toad!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

The moose is a massive beast and very dangerous! Some folk make the mistake of thinking they are like sheep, just a little more jittery!


These are surprisingly aggressive!

Glad you guys didn’tget hurt!

Traveling is a passion of mine but since I have two kids at home, I'm not on the road as much as I used to be.
Luckily I was able to buy the house of my dreams a few years ago, which has a very "Wild" garden and a small pond. Since I'm living in a rather dry area, a pond means "Wildlife" right in the Backyard.
We've been having snakes, a turtle, Ducks, Frogs, Toads, Fish, Dragonflys, Salamanders and many more around and I'll sure show all of them over the time.
After showing pictures from far away, I'd like to start with some shots out of my garden and from a nature reserve right next to my place.

the spider and the peony

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Hauhechel-Bläuling - Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)1.jpg

European toad (Bufo bufo)
Erdkröte - European toad (Bufo bufo) (5).jpg

Four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Vierfleck - Four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (3).jpg

goldfinch (carduelis-carduelis)

grass snake (natrix natrix)

seasons in the sun
Last edited:
Ever since I've been snorkling in the Red Sea near Hurghada, Egypt I knew, I want to learn how to dive. A few years later I had the chance to make my diving license in Bali, Indonesia. We've been there for almost two weeks after we stoped in Singapore for a few days. While Singapore was a nice city/country, Bali was just AWESOME. Learning to dive took only 4 days, so I had enough time to start Underwarter-Photography right afterwards. Till this day, Bali is my favourite destination when it comes to reef-diving. The marine life is almost completey intact, even though we collected divingnets full of trash on almost every dive. Seeing this, compared to dead reefs like we've seen around Jamaica, makes me sad. Indonesia is making exactly the same mistakes as many other tourist destinations. They have to learn about recycling, ecotourism and wildlife reserves soon. If they don't, one of the last marine paradises will face the same fate as reefs all around the world.
Enough talking, here's some of my very fist Wildlifeshots from over- and underwater. Hope you guys enjoy.

Brown Mabuya (Eutropis multifasciata balinensis)
Bali Skink - Brown Mabuya (Eutropis multifasciata balinensis)2.JPG

Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris)
Sadly, we had a huge Thunderstorm that day and the water wasn't as clear as it always was.
Still was an awesome experience and the scenery in the bay was unbelievable.
Riesenmanta - Manta Ray (Manta birostris)1 (2).jpg

Indonesian Red Firefish (Pterois kodipungi)
Indonesischer Feuerfisch - Indonesian Red Firefish (Pterois kodipungi)1.jpg

Comb jellie (Ctenophora)
This animal bioluminesced all aorund it's body.
There's light in all colors of the rainbow running down from top to bottom.
It's stunning to see that for real.
Rippenqualle - comb jellie (Ctenophora)1aa.jpg

Clownfish (Amphiprion biaculeatus)
Samtanemonenfisch - Clownfish (Amphiprion biaculeatus).JPG

Lotus (Nelumbo)
Lotusblüte - Lotus (Nelumbo).jpg

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

The sharp perfect focus is so surprising especially for the other worldly SCI-FI plants and this nonchalant clownfish!


How did you achieve that feat!


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
This is a “common blue” threesome, LOL!


Hardly, “common”! Your good fortune is remarkable!

The chance anyone finding this, I imagine is so extraordinarily small.

Sure, for monarchs I would expect this crowding, as every landing site can be filled when the cloud of butterflies rests!

What are the shot details, if you can remember the lens, perhaps!

Thank you, Asher.
I sure do remember the Lens because it was one of my biggest mistakes when it comes to photography. It was taken with a Canon 200mm f2.8 L USM and when I say "mistake", I'm absolutely not talking about the Lens, I'm talking about being stupid and selling it. I had a 70-200 f4.0 L as well by the time and I thought, selling both and buying one 70-200 f2.8 L USM would mean I'll Upgrade my 200 mm with an IS and my 70-200 when it comes to f2.8 and the IS.
Truth is, the 200mm f2.8 was the best Lens i've ever had. The Bokeh was out of this world and the focus was soooo perfect on point.
The 70-200 f2.8 IS L is not even close to my good old 200mm and I still regret I've sold it.

The Shot was taken at 200mm, f4.0, ISO400 and 1/250S

If i'll ever find the 200mm 2.8 L USM from the very first series from Canon for a good price, I will absolutely buy it. Problem is, People know this Lens is out of this world... that's why it now costs more then 10 years ago and it's very hard to find.

I will show some more shots with it, soon. The Bokeh is just a photographers dream coming true.
I haven't had the chance to try the II Version but to be honest, I don't even want to. I found the perfect Lens for my use and it's impossible to top the I Version...so all I want is getting my hands back on this Lens.
It might be somehow "emotional" but that's just how people are. If I could choose between a Ford Mustang from 1966 and every other Mustang, I'd only ever ask for the '66 🥰

Here's two more reasons to love the 200mm fixed focal length

Hauhechel-Bläuling - Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).jpg

Alexis Bläuling - Green Underside Blue (Glaucopsyche alexis).jpg

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes, Tony,

What clarity, so well composed works!

That Bokeh is simply scrumptious!

BRW, do you ever add a Canon 500 D macro lens filter addon?

I used to have Filter when I started with photography. I don't use them anymore because from my experience, they're all "scale down" light and sharpness. I sure could make more extreme Makros but I'm not a fan of Focus Stacking and using editing in general. My shots are mostly Out of Cam and I only ever shoot Jpg since RAW is to much "Work" for me. I'm a photographer, not a Photoshop pro

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I used to have Filter when I started with photography. I don't use them anymore because from my experience, they're all "scale down" light and sharpness. I sure could make more extreme Makros but I'm not a fan of Focus Stacking and using editing in general. My shots are mostly Out of Cam and I only ever shoot Jpg since RAW is to much "Work" for me. I'm a photographer, not a Photoshop pro
Well if the jpg is done right, then it’s almost ready to print!

I work with poor lighting often and need the more robust files to optimize both bright cloud gradients and deep shaded detail. I want to keep composing and altering rank of elements as the image is prepared for printing. I don’t do commercial work, where RAW would increase processing times.

A lot of wedding photographers never shoot RAW!

I respect that.

A “JPG-only“ photography requires a set of discipline that, done well, leads to saving a lot of time. RAW, however, can be a black hole for stealing resources in computer power, disk space and editing time.

Still for the highest end large prints, one can end up with better gradients and reality of image if one has the considerable skill to benefit from those resources. If not, it’s not going to compete with a camera generated optimized jpg.

With the Ricoh GR III, for example it’s said that the out of the camera B&W easily trounces TriX Film on a Leica!

The balance of that is to know that with an 8 BIT jpg sRGB color space, some 99% of the data has been selectively discarded.

If that process was guided by brilliant camera-software engineers or the photographer, then for sure, jpg rules for efficiency and sufficiency!

When it comes to disk space, even Jpg. is a "Black Hole" :LOL: I have multible SSD's to save all my shots and to have at least one Backup of every file.
Printing was something, I never realy thougth about... until I was asked to make a exhibition in our local townhall. I've made prints on canvas, up to 2m in sice (6.5 feet).
The JPG's still look good and I don't think I'll ever need a bigger print so I'll continue to not use RAW anytime soon.
My shots are not comercial in any way or at least not made to make money with them. I love what I do and I use it as my "Yoga". A few people bought some prints but when I think about the trouble I have with that, I put money on it :confused:

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

I must admit, most of the time, outside of my studio, jpg would be fine!

If an alien spaceship lands in your private farm, or you alone capture Trumps execution, offers of $millions will come to you for your pictures!

For my 30st birthday, my wife gifted me the trip of a lifetime. 9 days South Africa and diving with great white sharks. It was #1 on my "Bucket List" and the hotel I've been to was right next to Boulders Beach, Simonstown where many penguins are hanging around. I've been down to the beach every single day and took hundrets of photos. "Cape point national park" was just around the corner, so I went there 3 times. It was the best trip I've ever made and I sure will be back, when Corona is finaly "over".

There's so many pictures I'd love to show from this trip, I guess it's going to be a few posts. I hope It's okay 😶

Common eland (Taurotragus oryx) at Cape Point
Elenantilope (Taurotragus oryx).jpg

Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
Eselspinguin - Jackass Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) BW1.jpg
Eselspinguin - Jackass Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)3.JPG

Female Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Grauhörnchen (Sciurus carolinensis)1.jpg

Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)
Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash).jpg

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
For my 30st birthday, my wife gifted me the trip of a lifetime. 9 days South Africa and diving with great white sharks. It was #1 on my "Bucket List" and the hotel I've been to was right next to Boulders Beach, Simonstown where many penguins are hanging around. I've been down to the beach every single day and took hundrets of photos. "Cape point national park" was just around the corner, so I went there 3 times. It was the best trip I've ever made and I sure will be back, when Corona is finaly "over".

There's so many pictures I'd love to show from this trip, I guess it's going to be a few posts. I hope It's okay 😶

Common eland (Taurotragus oryx) at Cape Point
View attachment 8141

Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
View attachment 8142View attachment 8143

Female Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
View attachment 8144

Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)
View attachment 8145


What a wonderful Gift!

Others would have started with a lion! You did far better as this digs deeper!

This picture is such a good start to your collection as it has both a native exotic ruminant on a hillside and the water beyond. It represents the wildlife on which all the predators like lions we associate with Africa depend on.

Thanks for your review, Asher.
I've been to Cape Point National Park almost every day. I just loved the wildlife in this "little area" right next to the huge city of Cape Town.
Besides the storms and being the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, Cape Point ist famous for the Baboons. Awesome, yet curious and dangerous Animals.
There's signs everywhere, warning tourists to lock the car since the Apes are able to open the doors to steal whatever they get. The sign also says, the teeth of a male Baboon are longer then the teeth of a Lion...and they will use them. I've seen a male Baboon open the door of a japanese tourist bus and stealing the handbag of a woman. She was in total shock and tried to go after the Baboon to get back the handbag. That's when a ranger stepped in to stop the woman. He told her, that this exact ape has brought another tourist to hospital the day before. Handbag was gone forever - Lesson learned, I hope. I was able to get a shot of this Baboon right before all of this happened. Meet Mr. Stealyourgirl(s handbag) :cool:

Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus)
Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus).jpg

Of course, there's way more wildlife around and I was lucky to shoot some of it.

Female Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Afrikanischer Strauß - Ostrich (Struthio camelus)1.JPG

Male Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Afrikanischer Strauß - Ostrich (Struthio camelus)3.jpg

Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata)
Angulate Tortoise (Chersina angulata)1a.jpg

Bontebock(Damaliscus pygargus)

Buntbock - Bontebock(Damaliscus pygargus)1.jpg

And finally, one of my personal favorites, the
Dassie (Procavia capensis)
Besides looking like a Rodent, The dassie is actually considered to be the closest living relative of the largest land mammal on earth, the African elephant, and also of the manatee and dugong.
Klippschliefer - Dassie (Procavia capensis).jpg

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
There’s so much to commend you on, Martin!


…..but I surprised myself in choosing the tortoise. Look at its presence and poise!

An aristocratic or a Prince of The Church in Rome!

Thank you, Asher and Jim.
The tortoise was actually about to commit suicide, since it decided it was a good Idea to cross the main road. Luckily it wasn't a busy day at all and I was the only person driving around. I stopped the car and waited in the ditch at the other side of the road for this little fellow to arrive. I guess it's the tortoise victory pose then :ROFLMAO:

The main "Reason" I've been to South Africa was the sharks. I love them more than any other animals on planet earth. (even got one tattooed) We've been out on the ocean for 3 days to search for the "great White" and one day to see "Cow Sharks". Due to my famous bad luck while traveling, there was a storm a few days before I arrived at "False Bay". The Storm lead to Orcas coming in the bay and seaking shelter...what caused all the Sharks from False Bay to just... disappear :cry:
We found the White Sharks near Gansbaai, right next to the world famous "Seal Island". One day was lost to get there, but on day 2, I was in the water with the sharks and it was just A-W-E-S-O-M-E -even though it still was rough weather and bad sight underwater. I didn't get the shots I was hoping for...but I sure had the experience of a lifetime.
The Cow Sharks haven't been back while I was in South Africa, so we decided to play with Shark Food (The Seals) :p
It was a great dive as well...but I have to admit, knowing there's huge sharks around stalking for the seals and having nothing to hide or defend left me with a "strange feeling" around the stomach.

Long text, no pics... so here's what I got: (Sorry for the amount)

Seal Island: (oh, the smell o_O)
Seebär - Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus)3.jpg

The Prey:
Seebär - Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) 1.jpg

Seebär - Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) BW.jpg

Seebär - Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus).jpg

And the Predator: (first sight, just like in the movies)
Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)3.jpg

Well, it was hungry
Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)5.jpg

Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)8.jpg

And finally, the diving. The water was freezing cold, but it's not like you'd notice that while being down 😆
Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias).jpg

Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)13.jpg
Weißer Hai - Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)1.jpg


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So how is it that sharks don’t mistake you for a seal or a dolphin?

Can you trust their gourmet preferences?

We've been diving with a cage in the water, Asher. So as long as the sharks don't go for canned food, we're good 😅
Day 3 without the cage was a "strange feeling" but since the sharks only ever seemed to be interested in the tuna heads we used as bait, I was hoping they don't change preferences 😬

So, let's leave the african continent and travel to the US again. I'm lucky to have a friend over in Tucson, Arizona who went on a few Road Trips up and down the westcoast with me whenever the USAF granted him to leave the base for a few weeks. I still remember the very first time I ever been to Arizona and I was expecting nothing but heat, deserts, cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes. That being said, I sure only had summer clothing with me...since "hey, it's Arizona", you know. Boy was I wrong 🥶
The first few days, we've been around Tucson, the Saguaro National Park and in the Mojave Desert. It was just like I've imagined besides the fact that there sadly was no rattlesnakes and abolutely no scorpions around. (I even stoped looking in my shoes after a few days)
After Mojave, it went down. Well, just temperature wise. When we reached Grand Canyon national park, there was SNOW. IN ARIZONA. Ok, I could have known that but somehow I was a little too naive to even think about that. So we went shopping before going any further up north (which was absolutely necessary, since we had a blizzard in Utah). After the temperature shock was over, I just stayed shocked over the sheer size and beauty of those landscapes. I will continue with wildlife photography and I sure took some of my absolute favorite shots around the westcoast of the US... but this time, I'd like you to see the Landscapes, those animals live in. Asher, please forgive me this little step to the side this time. I just think it does belong here to get an "all around picture" of those stunning trips.

Mt. Lemmon - AZ
Mt. Lemon.jpg

Grand Canyon - AZ (First morning after the snow)
Grand Canyon (6).jpg

Bryce Canyon - Utah (The day after the blizzard)
Bryce Canyon a.jpg

Bryce Canyon (8).jpg

Zabriskie Point - Nevada
Zabriskie Point (4).jpg

Death Valley - Nevada
Death Valleya_edited.jpg

Devils Golf Course / Death Valley - Nevada
Devils Golfcourse.jpg

Monument Valley - Utah
Monument Valley_edited.jpg

Horsehoe Bend - AZ
Horsehoe Bend (1).jpg
As I said, I've been searching for Rattlesnakes all the time. First two vecations I was walking around the desert whenever I could and turned around every bigger rock or piece of wood - I found...NOTHING! So on our very last day of the 3rd trip to AZ on the way to Phoenix Sky Harbor I saw a movement in the ditch right next to a crowded road. I couldn't stop immediately so I had to take the next exit, turn around to get back, turn around again to be on the same side of the road and stoped the car. There it was, a HUGE Western Diamondback right in front of me. Sure I had to get some shots but as always, the cam was buried under all the luggage in the trunk and it felt like it took forever to get everything out and ready. I was so hoping the snake wouldn't move and I was lucky enough it didn't. I layed down on the ground and crawled over to this big animal, as it turned around and saw me. The Snake wasn't to happy about it and "stood up" and rattled for a few sec. My wife and friend have been in the car and screamed I should get away from it but I was sure, the snake would calm down very quick and getting up to run away would make things worse. I got the shot I had in my mind for years. The light and bokeh wasn't perfect but I'm so happy I was able to shoot this awesome Animal, I don't care about the details at all. Sure found some other wildlife while walking around the desert as well so I will show my "Arizona Adventures" in this post:

Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) as I found it
Westliche Diamant-Klapperschlange (Crotalus atrox)8.jpg

When it saw me crawling in
Westliche Diamant-Klapperschlange (Crotalus atrox)7.jpg

and about to relax a few moments later
Westliche Diamant-Klapperschlange (Crotalus atrox).jpg

Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni)
Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni).jpg

Coyote (not) Ugly

Round tailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus)
Erdhörnchen - Round tailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus).jpg

Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)

Stachelleguan - Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister).jpg

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
You are CRAZIER than I am! OMG, Martin, you could have gotten bitten and been in serious trouble. No way your wife could get you back in the car!

But the picture made it worth the risk.

What was your distance?


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

The 200 mm focal length pays off here! Beautiful background and focused delicate subject.

it’s almost Erté was given a camera and long lens!